Karunaratne, Buli­tavo case gets new mag­is­trate

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today -

Chief Mag­is­trate Usaia Ratuvili yes­ter­day dis­qual­i­fied him­self in the sedi­tion-re­lated case of Ja­gath Karunaratne and Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Mos­ese Buli­tavo sedi­tion re­lated case be­cause of a con­flict of in­ter­est.

Chief Mag­is­trate Ratuvili said he had a close re­la­tion­ship with the late Rev­erend Manasa Lasaro, who was named as a player in the trial by prose­cu­tion wit­ness, Eroni Takape. The prose­cu­tion had submitted that Chief Mag­is­trate Ratuvili could not con­tinue to pre­side over this case when ev­i­dence will be heard re­lat­ing to the in­volve­ment of the late Rev­erend Lasaro in the event around the of­fend­ing.

The mat­ter has now been trans­ferred to Mag­is­trate Shageeth So­maratne. “If how­ever the ac­cused are happy for Mag­is­trate So­maratne to rely on the records so far then that is for him to de­cide based on his dis­cre­tion,” Chief Mag­is­trate Ratuvili said. “I hereby re­cuse my­self and order a trial de novo be­fore RM So­maratne who shall take over the pro­ceed­ings.” Karunaratne and Buli­tavo are charged with spread­ing sedi­tious com­ments in pub­lic in 2011. The case has been ad­journed to De­cem­ber 30. JES­SICA GOUNDER Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika

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